Selangor Journal
Essential workers wearing face masks walk past the skyline of the central business district outside a regional screening centre amid the Covid-19 outbreak in Singapore, on June 9, 2020. — Picture by REUTERS

Singapore calibrates reopening plans, dine-in to resume but limited to two persons

SINGAPORE, June 18 — Singapore is calibrating its reopening plans for its economy and social activities due to the persistence of undetected community transmission cases, according to the republic’s Multi-Ministry Taskforce (MTF) on Covid-19 today.

Among others, higher-risk activities such as dining-in at Food & Beverage (F&B) establishments and indoor mask-off sports and exercise will only be allowed to resume in group sizes of up to two persons from June 21, instead of up to five persons as previously announced.

The MTF had earlier announced reopening to Phase 3 (Heightened Alert) starting with Stage 1 on June 14, 2021, and a further reopening with Stage 2 on June 21, 2021.

The co-chair of the MTF, Gan Kim Yong said the Taskforce has decided to take a calibrated approach towards further resumption of activities that was due to start from Monday.

“Dining-in will still be allowed to resume from Monday, but we will start with the smaller group size of two,” said Gan who is also the republic’s Minister for Trade and Industry at a virtual press conference here.

Gan said barring unforeseen circumstances and developments in the pandemic, the MTF will increase the group limit for dining-in and indoor mask-off activities to five from mid-July.

“This is a more cautious approach to minimize the risk of spike in cases and formation of large clusters,” he said.

The MTF also announced that work-from-home will continue to remain the default arrangement as it must control transmission risks by reducing overall interaction within workplaces, and in public places including public transport.

Meanwhile, given the increased transmissibility of viral strains, the MTF said it will use TraceTogether (TT) and SafeEntry (SE) data to strengthen its ringfencing around cases to prevent large clusters from arising.

“This will give us greater confidence to resume more activities while preventing transmissions,” said Gan, adding that ‘Health Alerts’ via SMS will be sent to individuals, who have visited hotspots on the same day as the infected persons, and might have been exposed to the virus.

These individuals will be required to undergo mandatory testing at designated testing centres and stay isolated until they receive their results.

Furthermore, at the testing centres, the individuals will be given DIY test kits, which they will need to self-administer at home over the subsequent days to confirm that they were not infected, said the co-chair.

As at noon today, the republic’s Ministry of Health (MOH) has preliminarily confirmed 14 new cases of locally transmitted Covid-19 infection, whereby 10 are linked to previous cases while the remaining four cases are currently unlinked.

In total, there are 16 new cases of Covid-19 infection in Singapore today including two imported cases, thus bringing the total tally to 62,382.

— Bernama

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